Can You Swim with Acrylic Nails?

When the weather gets hot, it’s time to go to the beach or the pool for a swim! Both are great places to see and be seen. So you prep yourself up and even get your nails done. However, with your experience with regular nail polishes that chip when you spend time in the water, you could be worried about your acrylic nails. 

Many ask “can you swim with acrylic nails?” In short, you certainly can swim with acrylic nails! Water won’t ruin them. They will only be removed if you soak them in acetone.

However, you should be mindful of how long you stay in the water, and about the current condition of your acrylic nails. Prolonged water exposure can still have some not-so-good effects on your acrylic nails.

We’ll discuss that further below.

Can You Swim With Acrylic Nails? And For How Long?

Acrylic nails are known to be tough and durable. That means that you can have lasting beautiful nails for weeks. However, you might be afraid of swimming because you don’t want to damage your beautiful manicure (no UV light needed. We love it!).

Well, fear not! Swimming doesn’t ruin your acrylic nails. You can swim with them. 

Fear not, swimming doesn’t ruin your acrylic nails. You can swim with them. 

Does Chlorine Affect Acrylic Nails?

Even if you are swimming in a pool, chlorine won’t affect acrylic nails. They will stay as beautiful and vibrant as ever.

Does Salt Water Ruin Acrylic Nails?

No, salt won’t damage acrylics either!

Do Acrylic Nails Fall Off in Water?

No, they don’t, assuming you’re not soaking in the water for a long time. If you’re taking regular breaks, your acrylics should be totally fine in the water.

So What is the Concern When Swimming with Acrylics?

It’s not chlorine and it’s not the saltiness of the water at the beach that is the problem. It’s too much time in the water itself.  

A quick dip at the pool or a swim for a few laps won’t hurt your acrylic nails. They are made to be waterproof. That is also why it is perfectly fine to wash your hands or take a shower with them on.

You don’t have to wear gloves when you shower with acrylic nails. 

However, if you soak for hours in the water regularly with your acrylic nails, wash dishes, etc., there is a chance the acrylic nail can begin to lift. The likelihood of your acrylic nail lifting will depend on how well the fake nail tips were applied to your nails.

If you soak for hours in the water regularly with your acrylic nails, wash dishes, etc., there is a chance the acrylic nail can begin to lift.

If it is already starting to lift, soaking it while swimming will just worsen the lifting. Eventually, they could pop off.

The problem here lies in the water getting underneath the acrylic fake nail. Although acrylic nails are waterproof, our natural nails still have a tendency to absorb water. When the real nail absorbs water, it also expands.

With such changes, it is possible that the bond between the acrylic and your natural nails will loosen. 

This doesn’t mean that your entire acrylic nail will be detached from your natural nail immediately. However, it will start to be lifted around the edges. And that isn’t a good thing. 

The Problem With Acrylic Nails Lifting

So what’s the big deal with acrylic nails lifting anyway? If they are only lifted on the edges, you’re still good to go right? They still look good and most of it is still attached. 

Even if the acrylic nails still look good and still feels attached when some parts the lifted, you shouldn’t ignore them. The problem with lifted acrylic nails is that there is a gap formed between them and your natural nails.

That could cause a health problem. 

You need to have that gap fixed as quickly as possible. If not, there is a chance for bacteria to get in and be trapped. With this, a nail infection can occur. Even if it starts with the nails, the infection can spread and be harmful to your whole body. Acrylic nail fungal infection is pretty common, and pretty much only occurs when the nails are lifting and exposed to water.

Acrylic nail fungal infection is pretty common, and pretty much only occurs when the nails are lifting and exposed to water.

To fix lifted acrylic nails, you may need to visit your nail technician. However, that isn’t true for all scenarios. Sometimes, you can simply use a little bit of nail glue to reattach the acrylic nail.

Choose actual nail glue , and avoid using household glues like Krazy glue. This way, you won’t run into major problems down the road.

Before you do that, make sure to sanitize the area with alcohol. If you did expose the nail to water, you probably should visit your salon to make sure everything is ok. 

What To Do Before And After Swimming With Acrylic Nails 

As we’ve said, you can still swim even with acrylic nails. You just have to take precautions and not overdo it.

Furthermore, here are a few tips on what you should do before and after swimming when you have acrylic nails. 

Properly Apply Your Acrylic Nails

If you are applying , make sure that you follow the correct steps for your DIY Acrylic Nails, so that they bond correctly.

This helps prevent the acrylic from lifting due to water exposure.

If you’re going to a nail technician for your acrylics, make sure to go to a reputable one that uses high-quality materials. They should also be experienced techs, capable of ensuring that the acrylics don’t detach due to improper application. 

Check Your Acrylic Nails

Before you go for a dip, it is best to inspect your nails. If you see any lifting, you may want to have them repaired first.

Read more  4 Nail Glue Substitutes to Try Today

As we’ve said, some are simple enough and you can just use nail glue in some scenarios. This is also true after you go swimming.

Check to see if your acrylic nails are lifted and repair or have them repaired as needed. 

Use Cuticle Oil

Some suggest using cuticle oil or moisturizer on the acrylics before you take a dip. This does help repel water but is only a short-term solution.

Eventually, the oil or moisturizer will eventually be washed out as you stay in the water for a long time. 

Quickly Dry Them Off

After swimming or even after wetting them, it is best to dry your nails as quickly as possible. If you observe lifting, make sure that the gap is also dry, and try to use alcohol to sanitize it before repairing.

Drying them quickly will prevent the bond from further loosening. 

Final Thoughts

You can certainly swim even if you have acrylic nails. However, you just need to know that prolonged exposure to water increases the chances of lifting. Although swimming doesn’t damage your acrylic nails, lots of water can cause your nails to lift a bit.

Lifting can be dangerous for your health if you do not remedy it immediately. Check the nails before and after swimming and avoid lifting, and address them if you have a problem.

— Update: 25-12-2022 — We found an additional article Can you go swimming with acrylic nails? (or fake nails) from the website for the keyword can you swim with fake nails.

Having fabulous nails is a luxury, which is why some people go to great lengths to acrylic nails. Acrylic nails, also known as fake nails, have become popular again recently, thanks to the celebrities who never missed an opportunity to flaunt their wonderfully designed fingernails. 

But as beautiful and sturdy as acrylic nails are, they have downsides, too. One of the disadvantages of having acrylic nails is that you need to provide extra care for them. 

Here comes the million-dollar question: Can you go swimming with acrylic nails? Well, that’s what you’re about to find out today. Read on. 

Yes, you can swim with acrylic nails. But no, you can’t swim as long or as often as you want. The thing with acrylic nails is that they don’t go very well with water. As a matter of fact, you are supposed to keep your nails dry as much as possible. Exposure to water is forgivable if you do it for only a short period of time. 

Acrylic nails are waterproof after all – but you should, in no way, abuse it. That means you can go ahead and jump into the pool for a quick swim. Going on a few laps wouldn’t hurt, but ensure you wipe your nails dry after swimming. 

If you’re all set to go to the beach or have agreed to go to a pool party with friends, go ahead and have as much fun as you want. You don’t have to worry about your acrylic nails at all if you follow these simple rules: 

Before swimming

1. Always check the condition of your acrylic nails before taking a dip. 

If your nails are lifting, you must be extra careful with them as they may pop off anytime. Nail lifting means the acrylic is starting to go off the nail plate. If this is the case, try not to stay underwater for too long. 

2. Get your nails filled. 

It is a good idea to visit the nail salon and get your nails filled a day before you go out swimming. This way, there won’t be any gaps in the acrylic where water can penetrate, so your nails are safe. 

3. Apply nail moisturiser, cuticle oil, or lotion on your nails. 

Since oil and water don’t mix, applying cuticle oil or even baby oil can give your nails an extra layer of protection against water. The same is true with nail moisturisers and lotions. You can use these in case you don’t have any oil handy. 

After swimming: 

1. Wash your hands thoroughly. 

Be sure to wash your hands thoroughly while in the shower. This way, the chlorine or salt from the water are rinsed off from your acrylic nails.

2. Dry your hands completely

You shouldn't let water linger on your acrylic nails for too long. In fact, you must always dry your hands whenever you touch the water. Don't forget to use gloves when washing the dishes or do the laundry. 

3. Moisturise

Lotions are not only good for your hands, but for your nails too. Make sure to moisturize after swimming to keep your hands and nails healthy. 

Technically, chlorine doesn't ruin your acrylic nails. It should also not cause your nail to lift unless you get overexposed to it. If you dip in the pool for less than an hour, then you should be good. But swimming for an extended period regularly and you may have a problem. 

Chlorine, in general, is not good for the body. As for your acrylic nail, it will eventually cause lifting. Chlorine also weakens the adhesion of acrylic nails when exposed for an extended period. Just think of it this way: if chlorine starts to irritate your skin and eye, it’s probably creating the same effect for your acrylic nails. 

Here are some tips to follow so you can still enjoy swimming while having fabulous nails. 

1. Protect your nails. 

Don’t jump into the water without nail protection. Be sure to apply cuticle oil before swimming, as this will help repel water. Do this if you intend to stay in the water for a bit.

2. Rinse and dry your nails after swimming.

Take extra time in making sure that your hands and nails are completely dry after swimming. It’s one way to make sure that chlorine doesn’t linger on your nails longer than it should. 

3. Don’t swim if your nails are freshly done.

You must make sure that your acrylic nails have completely dried before swimming. As a rule of thumb, the minimum drying time for manicures is 12 hours. If your acrylic nails are fresh off the salon, it’s very likely that they will get damaged after an hour in the pool. 

4. Touch up

Don’t forget to visit the salon the day after your swim. The nail technician will inspect your nails and do some touch-ups as needed. They may also put on a topcoat, so your nail designs remain intact. 

Not all nail technicians are the same, and not all of them are experts in acrylic nails either. It’s important that you choose a good nail technician, so you can have full confidence that you’re getting the best possible service. You’ll also very likely get the results you want, not just design but also quality and durability.

— Update: 25-12-2022 — We found an additional article Can I Swim With Acrylic Nails? from the website for the keyword can you swim with fake nails.

Have you ever worried about going swimming in a chlorinated pool or saltwater after a manicure? If you’ve ever had your drug-store nail polish chip or peel at the beach or city pool, then you may be wondering if your acrylic nails would suffer the same kind of damage.

Read more  Here’s What You Can Do if Your Crooked Toes Bother You

Can I Swim With My Acrylic Nails?

Yes, you can. If your acrylic nails are in good condition, there is no reason not to go for a swim! The expected damage from the chemicals in the swimming pool is too minimal to worry about.

But if your acrylics are already lifting or popping off, it’s better to avoid swimming until they are fixed by a professional. Exposing your nails for too long in the water can cause nails to soak water and damage the acrylics. Well, this isn’t connected to swimming though, apply equally when you’re in the bathtub!

What is Lifting?

Can you swim with fake nails

Lifting is when your acrylic nail is lifted off of your nail plate. It may not be the best idea to swim if your nails are lifting.

If the acrylics are popping-off before you get into the water, you will need to be very careful. Water getting under the nail can cause the lifting to get worse and cause the nail to come entirely off.

Even if your nail is not lifting at all before swimming, it’s a good idea to check on any gaps you have periodically. Dry them off as quickly as possible as soon as you are finished swimming to stop your acrylic nails from lifting.

What Are Acrylic Nails Made of?

Can you swim with fake nails

According to the FDA, acrylic nails are mostly made of acrylic polymers, which are durable and transparent plastics. Due to this, acrylic nails are long-lasting and resilient.

These types of acrylic nails can stay beautiful for weeks at a time, which explains why they are such a popular choice. Some acrylic lovers may worry that chlorine, saltwater, or overexposure to water could harm their nails despite their tough reputation.

Will Chlorine or Salt Water Damage My Nails?

Can you swim with fake nails

If saltwater can damage hair, then surely it can damage my acrylic nails as well? What about chlorine? Surely a pool teeming with chemicals can’t be good for a manicure.

In truth, it depends. Saltwater and chlorine are unlikely to cause problems for acrylic nails. As stated, acrylic nails are challenging and need to be soaked in acetone to be removed. It would take more than a bit of exposure to some saltwater or chlorine to damage them.

When Can Water Damage Acrylic Nails?

Whether it’s at the beach or poolside, too much time spent soaking in the water is what can actually damage your acrylic nails.

However, whether or not your nails get damaged depends on a couple of things: how long you spend in the water and the quality of your nails.

The longer you spend in the water, the more likely your acrylic nails will lift from the nail bed. It doesn’t have to be while you are swimming either; this could just as quickly happen in the bathtub.

Quality Matters

Just as important as the amount of time you spend soaking, if not more important, is the caliber of your manicure.

Sometimes you get what you pay for. High-quality acrylic nails done by a professional are usually going to be more durable and last longer than a manicure done at home or with cheaper products.

Make sure the nail salon you frequent is giving you quality service. Salons that cut corners on safety or cleanliness may result in lower-quality acrylics. What’s worse, they may not be safe, considering that salons with unclean pedicure tubs were found to cause infection.

Below is a list of nail-salon red flags that should send you running.

  • Bottles of nail polish that are all separated
  • Dusty, unsanitary waiting area
  • Dirty, grimy drawers and work surfaces
  • Clogged-up or unclean pedicure tubs
  • Not using new or clean utensils in-between clients
  • Not sanitizing manicure bowls
  • Unsanitary bathrooms

So, next time you go to your nail salon, make sure you check for the above nail salon red flags.

Tips to Protect Your Acrylics

Can you swim with fake nails

What can you do to save your nails while going for a soak? There are a few ways to take care of your nails:

While getting in the water:

  • Get high-quality acrylic nails
  • Apply baby oil to the nails
  • Apply lotion or nail moisturizer, and reapply as needed
  • Don’t skip fill appointments. Any gaps where water can get into the nail are bad

After swimming:

  • Wash hands thoroughly
  • Make sure your hands are completely dry
  • Moisturize well

In Summary

So, if you’re still asking yourself “can I swim with acrylic nails?”, the answer is: yes, you can. It is unlikely that saltwater or chlorine will damage the nails, although prolonged soaking in water may cause lifting.

It is a good idea to take precautions such as checking for gaps and lifting before going swimming and applying cuticle oil or moisturizer to protect your nails.

Even more important is ensuring that you have a high-quality acrylic manicure in the first place so that it can last as long as possible, both in and out of the water.

— Update: 25-12-2022 — We found an additional article Does Chlorine Ruin Acrylic Nails? [Can You Still Go Swimming?] from the website for the keyword can you swim with fake nails.

You’ve got your acrylics done and they look fantastic. But can you now go swimming, or enter water that has been treated with chlorine? Or will it completely damage your new manicure? Here is what you need to know!

So, does chlorine ruin acrylic nails? Chlorine should not ruin, nor cause any lifting, in properly prepared and applied acrylic nails. However, over-exposure to chlorine, or water in general, can result in the eventual lifting or a weakening of the adhesion over time.

While a dip in the pool is rejuvenating, swimming is certainly good exercise, and some time in the hot tub is relaxing, truth is – you’re exposing your body and your nails to chlorine.

We all know that chlorine is not great for us.

It can be quite irritating when it gets in the eyes, its drying to the skin. and it can make hair feel stiff and without its natural bounce.

Then there is the smell….

But it is a chemical and it does kill of bacteria and germs after all.

Its in many ways a lesser of two evils.

But how does it typically impact a manicure, particularly an acrylic one?

What do you need to be aware of if you have them done and intend to enter water treated with chlorine.

Keep reading to find out!

How Damaging Is Chlorine To Acrylics?

While chlorine is not exactly beneficial to your acrylic nails, it does not do any damage as such.

Acrylic nails are designed to be very durable; they are made from materials intended to withstand a lot of stress and wear.

Besides, you will need to wash your hands, and they will be exposed to different products and chemicals after all.

Thankfully, for acrylics that have been applied correctly, chlorine is unlikely to affect them all that much, or at least not very quickly.

This is, of course, assuming exposure is not too regular or for extended periods of time.

Alternatively, if you were to have worn your acrylic nails for some time already, they are already starting to lift, or they were not applied appropriately, chlorine can very well have an impact.

Read more  Can you go swimming with acrylic nails? (or fake nails)

For instance, if the chlorine is able to get underneath the acrylic, or if the adhesion was not secure from a lack of dehydrating prior to application; then chances are the chlorine is not going to do the enhancements much good.

So perhaps a better way of looking at this is what condition are your acrylics in?

Are any parts of your nail exposed?

If you are going for regular refills, you needn’t have to worry as much.

But, if there is any sign of weakness, it can be an issue.

However, at this juncture exposing your acrylics to any water would equally be problematic; chlorinated or not.

Water by itself can cause lifting in artificial nails if it gets into the wrong place. And then you run the risk of nail infection too.

So, its ultimately all about the condition of your acrylics and natural nails, and the length of time to any water or chlorine exposure.

Can You Go Swimming After Getting Acrylic Nails?

You can still go swimming with acrylic nails, although you will need to be mindful of how long you are in the water and how frequently you go.

If you are a competitive swimmer, or swim very regularly, then chances are artificial nails are not the most appropriate for you at this time.

Besides they are sharp and not likely to help you remain streamlined!

Instead, if you like to swim regularly or have a pretty demanding training schedule, a simple nail polish would likely be much more appropriate.

Even if it does chip more regularly; it will likely be a lot more cost effective in the long run!

If you just wanted to go for a swim now and then, you should be fine to do so with acrylics. Assuming they have been properly applied etc.

Nevertheless, it is still a good idea to keep your exposure to chlorinated water as brief as possible.

And not only will your nails be grateful for this, but your hair and skin will be too!

Chlorine, whilst very effective at killing germs and bacteria has a very drying affect on nails/hair and skin.

Not ideal.

Do Acrylic Nails Stay On In Water?

Acrylic nails should stay on in water, assuming there are not any inherent weaknesses or they are already severely lifting.

They are designed to be able to withstand getting a little wet from time to time.

Otherwise, going for a shower or a bath would be completely out of the question and you would have acrylic nail gloves for such purposes!

Or go smelly which I doubt anyone would go through with!

How durable acrylics will be in water does depend on a few factors, mind.

For starters it does depend on how well the acrylics were applied.

If they were bonded improperly, through poor technique, use of the wrong products, or in the wrong ratio, you may encounter issues.

As previously mentioned, its not actually the chlorine that poses the biggest threat to your acrylics.

Its the water.

And its when it gets underneath.

Unfortunately, natural nails also have the tendency to absorb water and expand.

So, if water does get underneath, your natural nails will likely expand and loosen the bond you have with your acrylics.

And as you can imagine, this results in even more water entering. And exacerbates the problem even more.

To prevent this from happening, you could look to add a moisturizer or oil on your acrylic nails before swimming.

These products will naturally repel the water, preventing it from reaching the natural nail and resulting in lifting.

Its also a good idea to regularly monitor and examine your acrylics; especially before you do get in any water.

Check to ensure the acrylics are still adhered well to the natural nail.

If its not, you should look to repair the bond, or ask your nail technician to do so for you.

How Do I Protect My Nails From Chlorine?

The best way to protect your nails from chlorine is by adding adding a layer of transparent top coat. This will prevent any direct contact.

Other than this, it is important that you minimize your exposure to chlorine as much as you can, and be sure to wash it off your nails and skin after any emersion in it.

So, this will mean carefully washing your hands after swimming, before applying a moisturizer or cuticle oil to your nails to rehydrate them and stop the drying effect chlorine can have.

This is the cuticle oil to get, from Amazon.

One other thing to consider is the manicure you decide to get going forward.

Gel nails are generally much more practical for swimmers, and time spent in the pool.

They are a lot better at naturally repelling water, and you are far less likely to knock your fingers on the side of the pool (which can result in cracking and lifting).

They are generally a lot more resilient so should be considered a more suitable alternative, long-term.

What Happens If Water Gets Under Acrylic Nails?

If water gets under your acrylic nails, it can result in infection if it does not dry out quickly enough.

This is especially problematic if your nails do not fall off, as you will unlikely detect or even notice this moisture at first.

Water has a tendency to intrude even the smallest gaps in natural and acrylic nails and can go unnoticed for quite some time.

Its also very unlikely that you will be able to manually dry it out with a towel, even if you were to notice.

If an infection does start to take hold, you will notice in time through either a smell, discoloration or an uncomfortable feeling.

In this instance its important you get your nails looked at, by a doctor, at the earliest of opportunities.

While most cases of infection are not too dangerous, at least initially, if it goes on for too long it can result in permanent damage or even spread to other parts of your body.

So, if you suspect a gap in your acrylics, do get them refilled by your nail technician as soon as you can.

It will dramatically lower any chances of lifting, will ensure your nails last longer and most importantly, prevent any dreaded infection.

Of course, you could always try to repair the bond yourself with some nail glue.

Although a professional will be best qualified to to properly inspect your nails and ensure they are bonded appropriately.

It can be particularly tricky to do on your own.


Chlorine is not ideal for your acrylic nails. There is no denying that.

But, it should not cause any immediate damage or cause your acrylics to lift if you were happen to swim infrequently.

In fact, the better the application, the better your nails were prepped prior to application, and the more recently your acrylics were applied, the greater the chance that chlorine will not have any adverse effects.

However, if there is any existing lifting, signs of weakness or general application issues, chlorine can be the final straw.


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About the Author: Tung Chi